1940 Indian Four
Frame no. DD0434M
"The Four is the greatest motorcycle showpiece, the Duesenberg of motorcycling." Jerry Hatfield, Illustrated Indian Motorcycle Buyer's Guide
Marketed as the Indian Ace for 1928, the Springfield company's first four-cylinder motorcycle had resulted from its purchase of the Ace rights and tooling from Detroit Motors the previous year. The Ace Company, although bankrupted twice, had developed a fundamentally sound four-cylinder motorcycle based on William Henderson's original design, and this provided Indian with an opportunity to offer an inline 'four' with minimal development costs.
Having acquired the Ace, Indian made few changes for the next couple of years before beginning to put its own characteristic stamp on the Four, beginning in 1929 with a re-style (Model 401) and following up with a new five-main-bearing crankshaft. Introduced on June 1st 1929 on the Model 402, the latter was the biggest single change made to the motor, which retained the Henderson Ace's basic architecture right up to 1936.
Following the debacle of the 'upside-down' Four, Indian reverted to the tried-and-tested 'F-head' (inlet over exhaust) arrangement, adding aluminum cylinder heads and fully enclosed valve gear to the specification. Mechanical changes after 1938 were few, the one most worthy of note being the introduction of 'plunger' rear suspension for 1940, which also brought with it the large, skirted fenders characteristic of the Indian Four in its final incarnation.
Production of the Indian Four, America's last four-cylinder motorcycle, ceased in 1942. No sales literature was distributed for the 1942 season - this would normally have been done the preceding fall - probably because the defense build-up prior to the United States' entry into WWII was already causing manufacturers to focus their attention elsewhere.
One of the world's most beautiful and collectible motorcycles, this Indian Four was bought from cousin Jimmy Roszel of Charlottesville, VA. At time of photography it was missing its distributor/magneto but these will be offered with the machine.
- Please note that the title for this motorcycle is in transit, and that this bike is titled under its engine number